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NEWS: Ghanaian producer sues CAF for copyright infringement

Ghanaian producer and broadcaster Kwabena ‘Spiky Beats’ Ofei-Kwadey Nkrumah is suing the Confederation of African Football (CAF) three years after calling out the governing body on Twitter for using a soundtrack he produced without permission.

In a series of tweets from July 2019, Nkrumah accused CAF of using his track ‘Spiky- Okomfo Anokye’ for promotional materials ahead of the 2018 CAF Awards and failing to pay him for it.

“A young producer, working hard to make ends meet, the least you could do, some sort of remuneration, to motivate and inspire. But no! They just ignored me,” Nkrumah said.

According to recent court documents seen by Music In Africa, Nkrumah wants CAF to admit to the “flagrant and brazen” use of his beat without his consent. He is also seeking settlement in damages and legal costs for infringement of his intellectual property rights. 

Nkrumah claims that by “transmitting the said promotional materials globally and on all first defendant’s social media platforms at commercially viable airtimes, defendants were assured of maximum viewership and incomes by way of maximum sponsorship while the plaintiff who invested so much time, energy and resources to compose and produce the said beat/instrumental music lost the opportunity to exploit his copyrighted work for both economic benefits and recognition and was rather ‘left with the short end of the stick’.”

As part of its defence filed this week, CAF admitted to failing to obtain prior consent for the use of the soundtrack, which was “available online for free download without any restrictions or conditions, to use for the artwork posted on CAF’s social media platforms.” 

It also denied using the soundtrack for commercial purposes, as the awards were a non-profit event. CAF said it pulled down the artwork with Nkrumah’s background music from all its social media platforms and apologised on the same day that the plaintiff’s claim came to their attention.

“I wouldn't want to comment because the matter is in court, but it’s not merely a settlement I’m looking for,“ Nkrumah told Music In Africa. “My rights need to be vindicated and that’s why I’m in court. Intellectual property is respected in other jurisdictions. They’d be scrambling to settle the issue as fast as possible if it was an international artist, but it’s taken three years.” 

Nkrumah added that he hoped to inspire other emerging creatives through this campaign. “Creativity is priceless, don't sell it cheap, and take steps to protect it,” he said. 

The feuding parties are due back in court in October.

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